My Co-op in Cologne

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Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick. She is currently off campus on her Co-cop placament in Cologne, Germany. Here she gives us a review of her first few weeks away from UL:

“Coop chooses you, unfortunately you don’t get to choose your coop. You select a host destination and the coop office organize interviews for you and you are placed wherever you are successful. For me, I was lucky and got my placement on my first interview meaning I had lots of time to prepare. I am working in a Kindergarten in the German city of Cologne (Köln) and thankfully I love it.

When I began the process of applying for coop I was adamant that I didn’t want to work in a kindergarten after having a traumatizing experience au pairing however I was successful in my first interview meaning that unless I wanted to find my own placement I was off to Cologne.

Come January first  I was on my way to becoming a full time kindergarten teacher. After spending my first month here I am so happy that you are made to take your first offer. The job is so rewarding and I come home everyday feeling a bit tired but never stressed out or unhappy with how the day has been. The working environment is warm and friendly with a real family atmosphere.

For me the biggest thing that I have learned so far from my coop placement is to stay open minded and take every opportunity that comes your way. If I had had the opportunity to turn this teaching position down I would have but now that I am here I am very happy to be spending the next five months in this role!

If I could offer any advice for students thinking about going on coop to a foreign country it would be to remember to be open minded, for me I wanted to go to a bigger city like Hamburg or Berlin and wasn’t so keen on the idea of Cologne a smaller city that I didn’t know that much about. However after being here for the past month I really love it and even have started to prefer it to Berlin. Co-op is all about learning to become an adult and finding out how to take part in the world around you independently and although I don’t think I will pursue early childhood education as a further career I am very thankful to have this opportunity!”

ellewalsh

Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student studying French, German and Politics at the University of Limerick. Last year, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe. 

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Tips on organising assignments and mid-term stress

By Nadine Kimak

During your study period at the University of Limerick you will have to do several assignments, presentations, tests and exams. They are all spread out during your semester. In my case I have to write blogs every second week, three group projects and some essays and exams. Unfortunately a lot of these assignments were scheduled in the mid-term. Last week. That means a lot of stress because you have to go to your lectures, meet with your groups and then work on your essays. But don’t worry, somehow you make everything work.

So I have some tips and advice, which helped me organizing my assignments and getting everything ready on time.

  1. Start early enough.

I know that’s hard and I always have to remind me on that. But it will make your life so much easier. If you have a break between lectures and you don’t know what to do, just sit down and start researching for some assignments.

  1. nadineWrite an assignment plan.

For example, the plan to the left. You can see in which week you have to submit an assignment. The best thing about this plan is that you can cross out the things you already finished. So little by little there will be less assignments on your plan.

  1. Ask for help.

Don’t be scared to ask questions. The lecturers don’t expect you to be perfect and know everything. If you are not sure just ask them. You don’t want to ask them in person? Nor problem, just write an email.

And you can also talk to other students in your module or study program.

  1. Get out of your room.

I know that when you start writing an essay the time flies by and you sit on your laptop for hours. Get out of your room. Walk around your neighborhood, do some sports or just do anything. Because your brain sometimes needs a little break.

 

Ok I don’t want to scare you. It sometimes just sounds a lot. If you start early and take your time, you will not have any stress with your assignments. Just believe in yourself and not put so much pressure on yourself. I had a rough week but I did it. And when I submitted my essays today, I was really proud of myself. And you can do that, too.

nadineNadine is an Erasmus student from Germany. She is studying Social Science in Limerick for two semesters. She loves to work with people, do sports and explore Ireland.